South African jockey, Jonase Mokwena won the Royal Cup horse-racing competition organised by Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL) in partnership with Bienvenue in honour of King Letsie IIIâ€™s 60th birthday.
Mokwena also received M6,000 in prize money for winning the horse-racing competition that was held at the Mohaleâ€™s Hoek race course last weekend.
ETL had sponsored the initiative with M500,000, where together with Bienvenue they fused horse-racing and fashion design competitions to celebrate Lesothoâ€™s rich history, culture and heritage, while also displaying the valuable impact horse-racing competitions can have in promoting tourism across the country.
King Letsie III, who attended the horse race, professed his deep love for the sport and thanked all the sponsors for supporting the competition, saying the support will go a long way towards reviving horsing-racing in Lesotho.
â€œI was initially skeptical about the Royal Cup due to the impact of Covid-19 to various sporting codes and but the fact that you are all here is proof that we can do a lot better moving forward to grow this sport that is very close to my heart,â€ the king said.
â€œI wish to plead with all relevant stakeholders to work closely together in order to improve the competiveness of this game for the benefit of everyone, including the jockeys.â€
He also congratulated the winners and the participants for making the Royal Cup a success.
â€œI am also very happy that Basotho are still very much involved in horse- racing despite the fact that is has been a while since horse racing competitions have been held in Lesotho.â€
ETLâ€™s General Manager of Marketing Communications and Customer Experience, ‘Mapusetso NtÅ¡ekhe expressed satisfaction at the success of event.
She further indicated that the Royal Cup mirrored ETLâ€™s commitment to walking side-by-side with all customers, providing them with high-quality services across Lesotho while commemorating the extraordinary and life-changing journey of the Basotho nation.
â€œAs ETL, we are very excited to celebrate His Majesty King Letsie IIIâ€™s life as an epitome and symbol of the values and cultural beliefs of the Basotho Nation. We strongly believe that it is important that we continue to join forces as stakeholders in our collective efforts to contribute to the country’s development agenda and in celebration of the rich heritage and cultural tapestry of the Kingdom of Lesotho,” said Ntsâ€™ekhe.
Motlatsi Russell of Bienvenue also expressed delight at the Royal Cup.
â€œIt has been an absolute honour to work with Econet Telecom Lesotho to successfully deliver an event of this magnitude for the horse-racing fraternity and the fashion industry at large as we celebrate His Majesty King Letsie IIIâ€™s 60th birthday,â€ Russell said.
The Minister of Sports, Pitso Lesaoana lamented the negative impact of Covid-19 on sports.
He was therefore happy that the Royal Cup had brought back sports action especially for those who love horse-racing.
Lesaoana went on to underscore his ministryâ€™s unwavering commitment to growing sports in the country as outlined in the recently launched Lesotho Sports and Recreation policy that also seeks to meaningfully contribute to the growth of tourism and culture in Lesotho.
â€œThe government of the Kingdom of Lesotho is devoted to work with all partners and invest in all efforts earmarked to professionalise sports in Lesotho.
â€œI am very fascinated that we have women in the administration of this sport that has brought us all here today and I wish to applaud the organisation for the amazing work they have been able to achieve towards growing this sport,â€ said Hon. Lesaoana.